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Snapshots and life lessons - Jason Smith

I used to hate having my picture taken.

When I was growing up, it would drive me nuts to have my mom snap photographs of me, my brother, and my sister, during holidays or special occasions.

I think my frustration with the photography process came from my level of impatience with the way the pictures were taken.

My mom never seemed content to take one or two photos when my siblings and I endured this ritual.

This ritual often involved my wearing a tie, which cut off the blood supply to my brain, and the three of us standing in the same basic pose for minutes at a time. The smiles we wore seemed to grow more and more fake with each click of the camera.

Still, we knew those pictures meant a lot to my mother, so we tried not to complain too much.

Of course, one of the admitted advantages of having deaf parents, is having the option of expressing our frustration through one of those fake smiles without my mother ever knowing it.

For us, that was probably one of our favorite aspects of the whole process, because we could always keep each other in good spirits while the camera was on.

As the years have progressed, I've become more and more comfortable with having my picture taken. Those who know me particularly well would say I've turned into a complete ham, and they're probably right.

It probably doesn't help that I married a photographer, who I ask to take my picture with so-and-so at regular intervals, whenever we're with friends or family. My wife often tells me, deservedly so, that I often mistake her for my own personal paparazzi.

At any rate, I was able to showcase my inner ham earlier this week, in a setting which neither required me to wear a fake smile, or a tie, nor required my wife to lug a camera around.

My wife and I got pictures taken in a studio, with people who have become a surrogate family for us over the years. We are not actually related by blood, but over the years, I've come to realize that there is far more to family than bloodlines and DNA.

We even took our Siamese cat to the sitting, to make the pictures complete.

Of course, the cat reacted to the excursion in much the same way I reacted, as a child, to being asked to say "cheese" - by whining to and from the studio.

I had been looking forward to the occasion for weeks, and I wasn't disappointed. Aside from having some great pictures to display for visitors at my new house, I was able to add to the growing number of cherished experiences I share with those whom I love.

Times like these give me a greater appreciation, for the moments my mother wanted to capture on film all those years ago. Because of her desire to take inordinate numbers of photos just so she could have the perfect one at her fingertips, I now have so many great times to re-live whenever I want.

When I think about it that way, putting on a tie every now and then is a small price to pay for such moments.

Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts fors the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.